Ms. Magazine Celebrates Kick-Ass Girls & Feminist Boys!

Hi everyone!

Are you familiar with Ms. Magazine? Nooo? Tss tss, don’t wait. The last issue is available and waiting for you to read it! Oh, did I hear a ‘yes’? My bad. Let’s then talk about the Fall issue. You read well, I typed Fall. Because when a book or article is GOOD, there’s no expiration date.

First, let’s get properly introduced Ms. Magazine. In their words: “Ms. was the first national magazine to make feminist voices audible, feminist journalism tenable, and a feminist worldview available to the public. Today, the magazine remains an interactive enterprise in which an unusually diverse readership is simultaneously engaged with each other and the world. The modern Ms. boasts the most extensive coverage of international women’s issues of any magazine available in the United States.”

I’ll add that I don’t know many feminist magazines as complete as this one (and if there are that you’d like to suggest, please share with us in the comments). I’m enjoying a periodical that covers everything from politics to arts and health, and does so in celebrating women of all shape and colors (“I Have Big Thighs”, by Tami Winfrey Harris). I applaud the writers that do not shy away from controversial topics (As an example, see article “Culture of Rape”, by Natalie Wilson), and who give us updates centered on those leaders women of ours.

Now rewind to the Fall 2010 issue, “Click Lit”. Among the articles, you have:
-“ Afghan Women Rising“, by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon; It’s a wonderful piece on Afghan women entrepreneurs, midwives, civic leaders and military officers.
– “Learning to Dance“, by award-winning author Alice Walker. The piece features the two new poems.
– A variety of book reviews, and of course much more.

Today we focus on the Jessica Stites’ article “Kick-Ass Girls and Feminist Boys: Young Adult Fiction Offers Fabulous fantasies of How the World Should Be“. As the title suggest, Jessica gives us an analysis of the state of strong female characters in YA, complete with a historical overview of the phenomenon. What are some of the notable empowering female characters? How were they received both by publishers and by the public? What do teenage girls look for in YA novels?

I’m sprinkling below a few of the gems shining in the article, not only to wet your appetite but also to share some of the quotes that still haunt me.

“For girls of color, marginalized by the triple whammy of age, race and gender, YA can provide a thrilling moment of self-recognition.”

“With science fiction and fantasy, race is kind of transformed into people from different planets, which is a ‘safe way of dealing with it,” comments Nancy Pearl, author of Book Crush: For Kids and Teens—Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Interest (2007). “Interracial dating is now seen as going out with a

“Writers to meet this audience are out there, everyone agrees; it just requires a powerful editor willing to take a
chance on a new voice.”

Kick-Ass Girls and Feminist Boys is complete with a selection of the magazine’s favorite, introduced by category (action hero, gay/lesbian, masculinity, Civil Rights, Angst, War, etc…). If you’re looking for recommendations of YA with empowering females, this article will quench your thirst and give you a starting point.

For more information on the 2010 Fall issue of Ms. Magazine, click here!

Have a wonderful week and happy reading. 🙂

COLOR ONLINE: Celebrating Women Writers Who Make History ~ Doret’s Models (The Happy Nappy Bookseller)


Re: Last week’s post: “I’m sure most of you are familiar with the fabulous website COLOR ONLINE, a blog that “focuses on women writers of color for adults YA and children,” that is dedicated to empowering young women and children. If not, make sure to click and read away. Color Online regularly features interviews, book reviews, giveaways and essays on literacy and on various cultural issues. It was founded by LaTonya Baldwin, who is also at the origin of Readers Against WhiteWashing (RAWW).

Color Online is maintained by LaTonya and a community of women bloggers that include Doret (The Happy Nappy Bookseller), Tarie (Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind), Ari (Reading in Color), Vasilly (1330V), Ah Yuan (Gal Novelty), Terri (BrownGirl Speaks), and me (though I don’t contribute as regularly as I’d love to, yet).

To celebrate Women’s History Month, it was only natural to highlight Color Online’s work. And what better way to do so than to pick the brain of some of my colleagues? So I asked:
Tell me about a woman writer who made history, whose life inspire you, and/or whom you consider a role model.

On her blog The Happy Nappy Bookseller, Doret offers us the invaluable insight of a bookseller through her books reviews, interviews and essays. Doret, I can’t thank you enough for your help in celebrating women writers this month throughout the blogosphere, and I was particularly excited to read your guest post on Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month, titled Women of Color Make their Presence Known.

Here’s Doret’s answer:
“When Nathalie, asked all the other Color Online contributors if we would do a guest post at Multiculturalism Rocks for Women’s History Month, we all said yes. However, when I saw the question, I was very close to saying, “sorry Nathalie I can’t do it.” I am moved by and love many female authors. Black female authors will always hold a special place in my reader’s heart. I will always read them; as much as their writing changes over the years, the core remains the same. It’s the core element that I will forever be connected to.

As much as I love these stories and the women who write them, I am not moved to be more than I am. With that in mind I couldn’t answer this question, yet I felt awful because it was such an easy one. We need people to inspire us and I had no idea who inspired me. When that revelation hit me, it broke my heart a bit. I, too, need an Oprah. Then I remembered, I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America, by Brian Lanker, and all was well again. The book profiles 75 Black Women who made a difference in their various fields.

Right now I have the book open to Jean Blackwell Hutson‘s page. For 32 years, Hutson guided the development of the Schomburg Center for Research for Black Culture. If you are unfamiliar with the Schomburg its a must see library in Harlem, N.Y.

Now I have the book open to Leontine T. C. Kelly‘s page, the first Black woman bishop of a major religious denomination in the United States.

There was a time when I would flip through I Dream a World, and read these different stories and be inspired to do more. In some ways it was my devotional. Don’t get me wrong, I never put these women up on a pedestal and I doubt they’d want that, but there was a time when I would picture myself doing something half as good. With everything up in the air for me right now, I’m ready to go back to these woman for a little much needed strength.”

Wow, Doret! I found out that my library carries that book; a big thank you for recommending it. I wish you to get all the strength you need and more.